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Brothels, escorts agencies and sole operators and private workers must register their business. Brothel workers are not required to register.
The exchange of money for sexual services between adults on its own is not illegal in any jurisdiction with the exception of Western Australia, where it is an offence to act as a sex worker if convicted of a drug-trafficking or Schedule 1 offence Donovan et al.
However, some or almost all forms of sex work are criminalised in Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia. The policy was officially abandoned in ; however, according to Donovan et al. Soliciting is illegal in certain areas near or within view of a dwelling, school, church or hospital Summary Offences Act , ss 19, 19A.
Legal to run a brothel with appropriate planning permission. Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in a brothel without planning permissionb Restricted Premises Act , s 7 1. Brothels must be licensed and working within the licence conditions to operate legally Sex Work Act , s 22 1. It is a crime to live partially or wholly off the earnings of sex work unless working for legal premises ie licensed, or exempt from requiring a licence but registered Sex Work Act , s Brothels must be licensed and in accordance with planning laws Prostitution Act , s It is unlawful to work as a sex worker in premises other than a licensed brothel or contrary to brothel licence, unless exempt from needing a licence see private work below Criminal Code , s C.
Also illegal to live partially or wholly off the earnings that the person knows are the earnings of prostitution Criminal Code Act Compilation , s 3. It is a crime to manage or keep a brothel, or to receive payment in a brothel for sex work Summary Offences Act , s Illegal to live partially or wholly off the earnings of the prostitution of another person Summary Offences Act , s Illegal to run a brothel. Act does not state that it is illegal to work as a sex worker in a brothel Sex Industry Offences Act , s 4.
Legal to run a brothel, but must be registered and based in prescribed locations. Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in a brothel that is not registered or outside the prescribed locations of Mitchell and Fyshwick Prostitution Act , s 18 1 ; Prostitution Act Regulation , s 1 4 ; see also Prostitution Act , s 12 1. Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in a brothel Prostitution Regulation Act , s 4.
Clients of a social escort service must be informed that the service does not include prostitution Prostitution Act , s 96B. In addition, escort services cannot be advertised as including sexual services Prostitution Act , s 96A. Not illegal to conduct an escort service but illegal to live off the earnings. See Criminal Code Act Compilation , s 3 above. Act does not state that it is illegal to work as a sex worker in an escort agency Summary Offences Act , s Illegal to run an escort agency.
Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in an escort agency Sex Industry Offences Act , s 4. Legal to run an escort agency, but must be registered. Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in an unregistered escort agency Prostitution Act , s 12 1.
Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in an unlicensed escort agency. Small business operators two people working separately or jointly and solo workers are exempt from requiring a licence to operate legally but still need to register their service. Small business operators also need a planning permit for their premises if they are providing services there Sex Work Act , ss 23, Nothing in the Act specifically about private workers but see Criminal Code Act Compilation , s 3 above.
Up to two sex workers can work together but cannot manage or employ each other Sex Industry Offences Act , s 3 1. Local councils approve business applications see Restricted Premises Act , s 17 1 above. Business Licensing Authority grants licences for brothels and escort services and maintains the register of private workers.
The Office of Regulatory Services is responsible for registering brothels, escort agencies and sole operators. Director-General of Licensing formerly the Northern Territory Licensing Commission grants licences to escort agencies.
All staff of escort agencies must be registered with NT Police and receive a certificate from the Police Commissioner. At the time of writing, the Prostitution Bill WA , which proposes major amendments to the Prostitution Act , including the legalisation of prostitution under a licensing system, was before the WA Legislative Assembly. This table outlines the content of legislation in each state and territory regarding sex work but does not include sex work provisions within common law.
Sex workers can also be encouraged to sign contract agreements verifying this relationship Murray However, it has been argued that the level of control managers have over when sex workers work and the services they provide more closely resembles the work arrangements held in common law to be those of employer and employee Murray This includes fines for being late to work, not being allowed to sell sex services independently outside the workplace and control over the nature of the services sex workers provide, the amount they can charge and how long they work Murray ; Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council This leaves sex workers without the freedoms associated with being an independent contractor, yet without the benefits of being an employee Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee This is a situation where an employment relationship is disguised as one of client and independent contractor with negative consequences for the employee ABCC Much of the existing knowledge of sex workers has relied on input from peer and outreach workers, sexual health workers and sex workers themselves.
Convenience or snowball sampling, where participants are recruited in a non-random manner using existing knowledge or social networks, is the main methodology used in the research and surveys referenced in this section. This dearth of population-based studies on sex workers internationally and within Australia is primarily a result of restricted access to sex workers for research and survey purposes due to:.
The majority of sex workers are female Donovan et al. Those who identify as transgender and male sex workers are difficult to access for research as they are more likely to initiate contact with clients electronically eg by phone and online and work as private escorts rather than in a brothel-based environment Donovan et al. Research suggests that the majority of sex workers are aged between 20 and 39 years Donovan et al.
This increase in age appeared to be driven by an increase in the age of migrant sex workers, who made up a sizeable proportion of the sex worker population in Sydney. Age distribution has also been shown to vary by sector.
Only seven percent of private workers were aged 18—24 years compared with more than one-quarter of street-based and brothel workers Woodward et al. Although the results may not be representative, these findings have been replicated in studies from other states and territories.
The total number of sex workers working in Australia has been estimated to be 20, in any one year Quadara ; however the proportion of workers born outside Australia remains largely unknown. Data from the SSHC suggested that the proportion of Asian migrant sex workers ie those born in Asian countries in Sydney accessing their Chinese and Thai-language clinics increased from 20 percent to more than half from to Donovan et al.
This increase in sex workers accessing Sydney sexual health clinics was attributed to both an increase in migrant sex workers from Asia and a decrease in Australian-born sex workers Donovan et al. It is possible that these data are biased towards Asian sex workers due to the Asian-language clinics the SSHC runs; however, the LASH research conducted in Sydney brothels in found a similar proportion of migrant sex workers from China and Thailand. SSHC data from showed that the proportions of Thai and Chinese-born sex workers had nearly reached equivalence Data from the SSHC also showed a sharp increase in the representation of South Korean women from ; by they had increased their representation to close to that of Chinese and Thai women Donovan et al.
The migrant status of sex workers in other parts of Australia varied from that found for Sydney-based sex workers. These results were said to reflect those observed for licensed brothel workers in Melbourne Donovan et al. At first glance, it appears that migrant sex workers are more common in some states and territories than others, and that the cultural background of this population also varies by jurisdiction.
However, it is difficult to ascertain whether these proportions are representative of the true migrant population at the survey sites or the ease or lack thereof of access to this population for research. A questionnaire delivered to Asian female sex workers who attended the SSHC collected similar educational measures of sex workers born in China and Thailand Pell et al.
Brothel-based and private workers generally had low rates of drug use, high rates of condom use and very low rates of sexually transmitted infections or STIs Harcourt et al. Sydney brothel workers had levels of mental health that were comparable with the general population Donovan et al.
Perth-based respondents to the LASH survey reported percent condom use and experienced STIs at a rate similar to that recorded for the general population Donovan et al.
Categorising sex workers by the sector in which they work for research purposes can be problematic due to the extent sex workers may work in a variety of sectors simultaneously. Although limited in number, the research surveys reviewed in this report examine the issue of violence perpetrated by clients in the workplace. Eight percent of respondents to the LASH survey reported having experienced physical assault by clients Donovan et al.
It must be noted that none of these surveys used a representative sample; therefore the proportions may not be generalisable to the entire sex worker population. It is also problematic to compare the findings of these surveys as each one differed in their sampling frameworks respondents were sampled from different states with different legal frameworks for the sex industry , sampling approaches, sample sizes and categories for the violence reported by respondents.
The legal frameworks governing the sex industry play an important role in the health and safety of sex workers.
I co-founded the charitable organisation Touching Base to build training programs for other sex workers and to connect them to people with disabilities. We focus on the barriers these two marginalised communities experience, as well as their concerns such as access, discrimination and legal issues. The biggest challenge is often organising the appointment, especially if they rely on assistance from family, friends or support staff.
Imagine asking your mum to arrange a visit to a sex worker. They trust that we can provide a safe space. I work — mainly — with a community of women and I love the support that comes from that. I find it life-affirming. I define myself as a feminist. But I have a fraught relationship with mainstream feminism. They silence sex workers by refusing to recognise our work and autonomy. And, in doing so, have committed a great act of violence against us.
When we talk about violence against women, we need to talk about violence against sex workers. Instead of having to constantly prove our humanity or justify our profession we should be consulted and included in wider discussions about our work, sexual harassment and feminism. I used to work for an investment bank. I felt my life slipping away working 14 hours day for a company to pocket the profits.
I was looking for a change so I quit. I was doing a bit of personal training and started doing sex work on the side, and then porn. And after a year I started escorting full time. The negatives I experienced in sex work were directly comparable to negatives I experienced in other jobs.
When I was in the finance industry I worked long hours for little reward. But sex work allows me to decide my work hours, travel frequently and be my own boss. She decided the safest way to do that was with an escort. She knew it would be a safe space and she could be in control; stopping at any time with no issues. For someone to come and see me and place that trust in me, I found it very moving.
When I told my mum and dad I was moving to Sydney, the first thing they said was: It was alive and exciting, full of all things good and full of things bad. I began doing sex work in This made it very difficult for us to get work in our chosen profession. It was a very different world then. Clients would take advantage of us, coercing us into doing things with them sexually and not paying us, knowing full well that we could not seek recompense or justice from the law.
The police would strip us of all our money, drive us way out of town and tell us to find our own way home. The crimes committed against all street-based sex workers were horrific and the biggest perpetrators were the police. Every now and then, while working as a street-based sex worker, guys would approach me, not realising I was transgender.
One night a client picked me up and, of course, I presumed he knew that I was a transwoman because he picked me up in the trans working area on the street. We went back to his hotel room and I started to undress, when he suddenly slipped his hand down my knickers. He was so shocked with what he felt that he kicked me away from him and I flew off the bed and hit the wall. When he had regained his composure, he said: